Lord Bracadale to lead hate crime review

The Right Honourable Lord Bracadale has been invited by the Scottish Government to undertake a review of the laws covering hate crime offences in Scotland.

The independent review will consider whether existing laws represent the most effective approach for the justice system to deal with criminal conduct motivated by hatred, malice, ill-will or prejudice.   

The review will consider:

  • Whether current laws are appropriate and consistent
  • If hate crime legislation needs simplified, rationalised or harmonised
  • If new categories of hate crime for characteristics not currently legislated for, such as age and gender, need to be created

The review, which starts on 30 January 2017, is expected to last up to 12 months, after which Lord Bracadale will present his recommendations for the Scottish Government to consider.

In particular, Lord Bracadale will consider and provide recommendations on:

  • Whether the current mix of statutory aggravations, common law powers and specific hate crime offences is the most appropriate criminal law approach to take
  • Whether the scope of existing laws should be adjusted, including whether the religious statutory aggravation should be adjusted to reflect further aspects of religiously motivated offending
  • Whether new categories of hate crime should be created for characteristics such as age and gender (which are not currently covered)
  • Whether existing legislation can be simplified, rationalised and harmonised in any way, such as through the introduction of a single consolidated hate crime act
  • How any identified gaps, anomalies and inconsistencies can be addressed in a new legislative framework, ensuring this interacts effectively with other legislation guaranteeing human rights and equality

Read the full news release on the Scottish Government website.